Political Education of the People: What form should it take?
We believe that the sustained, slow work of political education of the people is what leads to revolutionary moments. Moments of political crisis can lead to spontaneous action but it is only when such action has ideological direction and political organization, that it can serve as the basis of change. Revolutions do not occur overnight, and for any revolutionary seizure of power to be sustainable, it must be backed by masses of people that are conscious of their role in society.
We recognize that the capitalist system utilizes the media as an effective means of controlling thought. However, working and poor people face a contradiction by virtue of their material conditions, which are often at odds with what the capitalist propaganda machine will have them believe. It is the work of political education to heighten and expose this contradiction to let people see the truth. While our ideological direction must come from the life worlds of working and poor people, we reject the idea that the people already know the truth. Hence, the ideological direction of political education must start with the material conditions of working and poor people. Political thought that emerges from the people is the only one that can serve to develop revolutionary consciousness. We reject attempts at ‘education’ that try to bring the language of academic discourse to working people. Such language, immersed in identity politics today, is an attempt at cooptation of radical thought. In the words of Fidel, this is a ‘battle of ideas’ with ruling class ideology in the United States, and must be fought to be able to utilize a moment of crisis.
“..which left our neighbor as the sole superpower in a unipolar world, unrivalled in the political, economic, military, technological and cultural fields. I do not mean the value of their culture but rather the tremendous power they exercise to impose their culture on the rest of the world. However, it was unable to defeat a united people, a people armed with just ideas, a people endowed with a great political consciousness because that is most important for us. We have resisted everything and are ready to continue resisting for as long as need be thanks to the seeds planted throughout those decades, thanks to the ideas and the consciousness developed during that time. It has been our best weapon and it shall remain so, even in nuclear times.”
The Saturday Free School engages in the struggle for ideological clarity every week. We believe the current political moment requires an anti-war movement, a deep understanding of the white supremacist social system and a rejection of identity politics through a fight against the misleadership in our communities. Our members will talk about their experiences with the texts we study, and how this dynamically interacts with their day to day lives.